Tyler, TX (KYTX) -- It doesn't take long talking to Robert E. Lee Senior Alexis Crowder, to know what makes her tick.
"8th grade, that's when I knew that's what I wanted to do," Crowder said.
She signed on to play volleyball next year at Richland Community College.
"I love the coach, and the players are very welcoming. They always want to help," Crowder said.
But her success couldn't have happened without others supporting her. Alexis joined a club team on her time off, and even had her own cheering squad, her family, along the way.
"It's important that they look up in the stands and see somebody pushing for them, rooting for them," Rashunda Crowder, her mom, said.
That motivation has helped Alexis and 7 other athletes from Robert E. Lee get to the next level.
"They're usually goal-oriented," Darrell Piske, Athletic Coordinator at Robert E. Lee, said.
Coaches are stressing athletes to start more weight-training, honing their skills during off-season, and of course taking care of grades as a freshman.
"You'll get one that's a great athlete and has always been better than everybody else, but he's dragging around in the classroom," Piske said.
Athletic programs in Tyler are making a name for themselves.
"As long as we keep putting trophies in the case and winning football games, colleges are always going to come knocking on our door," Ricklan Holmes, John Tyler Athletic Coordinator, said.